InTouch Rugby’s Garden Design Clinic – Guest Blogger Michael O’Reilly MGLDA ~ Blog 2 ~ Boost your ‘Kerb Appeal’ in 2013!

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You too can give your home or property’s ‘Kerb Appeal’ a boost in 2013 with these 5 handy tips
1. ‘Kerb Appeal’ – Good design adds value
 Soften the façade by introducing warmth to the scene by using natural materials and simple planting.
 Introduce a high quality platform or stepped access into the property using high-quality products to provide additional interest.
 Ensure that access is adequate in width and where possible provide shaded parking for visitors.
 A new driveway surface can compliment and lift the scenery and spirit of your property with a multitude of colours and finishes available – you don’t always have to stick with what you’ve got!
 Meandering pathways provide great intrigue and interest, and if space permits consider a frontal ‘Garden Room’. Supplement this space further by introducing trees and selected planting to harmonise with the property.
 Draw the boundaries! Define your property with aesthetically striking yet sympathetic boundaries.
 Innovate the Structure! The right blending of driveway, pathways and boundaries coupled with strong structural front framework design and good planting should combine to give your property the X-Factor in 2013!

2. The Colour Burst of January Stars
It’s not too late to plant Spring bulbs thanks to the very Mild December last month and the projected climate of January 2013. However, if you can source and plant them quickly, Snowdrops will blossom a touch later and out of sync with last year’s plantings – it’s all about the timing! Of course, you can get the pot-grown varieties now from your local nursery and aim to plant before the onset of the deep frost. Below are Michael’s recommendations!
 Snowdrops and carpets of winter flowering Aconite.
 Christmas Rose (Helleborus Niger) with evergreen leaves and stunning white flowers.
 Dogwood (Cornus) planted in eye-catching drifts of red, yellow, green or black.
 Evergreen Shrubs – There are many varieties of Hollies with berries which provide colourful interest as well as keeping the birds happy!
 Winter Scents – ‘Christmas Box’ (Sarococca) provides a delicious unique winter scent, and further fragrances can be introduced with ‘Wintersweet’ (Chimonanthus) and ‘Dawn’ (Viburnnum X Bodnamtense).
 Conifers, Yew, Box and Heathers – Such greats should never be forgotten.

3. Design Tips for 2013
Before your start it is worth considering those Design Projects that will add long term value to your home or property, Michael gives an insight as to how this may be achieved below.
 Engage a Garden Designer – We all have our own ideas and it is worth meeting with a suitably qualified Professional to validate your own thoughts. By having an exploratory consultation meeting with a Garden Designer you will be able to identify and understand how you could tackle this year’s garden projects. Generally a meeting lasting 2-3 hours will help answer any questions you have and assist in determining what you like and what you do not like. The upshot of this is you will have renewed confidence to go forward with your project knowing you are working with a safe pair of design hands.
 Master Planning – If you are wholly committed to improving the value of your home or property and are firmly staying put, it is prudent to seek your local Garden Designer to provide the long term ‘Master Plan’ of your property and surroundings. Then, as and when finances permit you can systematically take on the various garden zones and structures or commission a new design and planting scheme.
 The Garden Summer House – Even though we are only in January it is worth considering how you want to spend the Summer! More and more Professionals and Family Members are working from home, and we are often asked to design high-specification outdoor rooms. Such spaces often provide a dual-purpose in serving as work-spaces, gyms, summer house, an additional family room and a focal point of the garden for entertaining. Michael will discuss the aspect of Summer Houses in future blogs including a feature on his award winning and contemporary ‘Green Room’ pod, which has led to many other Clients asking for bespoke derivative designs to be produced and installed.
 Design Value – Especially in the current economic marketplace, value for money is more important than ever. An innovative, energetic, colourful, detailed and well thought out design properly built will not only significantly improve your home or property’s ‘Kerb Appeal’, but will also provide a feel good factor to your home or property.
 Garden Design Fees – Michael provides a Professional and energetic Garden Design Service and embodies his passion for Garden Concept and Product Design. Treating all Clients with respect, time and fully understanding their aspirations it is Michael’s aim to give each Client a strong conceptual design that will provide the X-Factor. With the ability to offer a high-quality award winning full Design and Build service on a lump-sum or time-charge basis Michael O’Reilly can provide a variety of solutions for Clients.
 Design Timescales – Michael and his team will aim to meet and produce an initial concept garden design in 7 working days, and following Client approval will seek to provide a final Master Plan Design and Budget within 21 working days. Furthermore, Michael offers Clients the option of progressing with Design only or provide an additional service in the Supervision of the high-quality build phase.

4. Innovative Structures
Now, let’s take a brief look at the latest driveway paving from Kilsaran HOME.
Michael and his team recently designed and supervised the construction of a stunning new front driveway that complemented new plant borders and replaced the old, tired existing boundaries.
The attached case study below describes how a new pavement system properly designed and specified when combined with a strong planting layout can give a home or property the X-Factor. Stemming from a driveway replacement brief the strong planting layout really shines through. A perfect example of blending good design, quality construction and strong detailed planting.

5. Innovative Planting taken to the highest level!
The image below shows Chinese astronauts preparing plants to grow fresh vegetables on both Mars and the Moon after researchers successfully completed a preliminary test in Beijing.
In this test, four kinds of vegetables were grown in an ‘Ecological Life Support System’ which comprised a 300 cubic metre cabin which will allow astronauts to develop their own stocks of air, water and food while on space missions.
The Xinhua News Agency reports ‘the system, which relies on plants and algae, is expected to be used in extra-terrestrial bases on the moon or Mars’.

Is this Planting Design taken to another level? What about the Carbon footprint?

6. Garden Maintenance Tips for 2013
 Make sure all birds that visit your external surroundings have food and water.
 Brush all pathways & patios regularly.
 Pull out any winter germinating weeds.
 If the mild weather persists, brush and power-wash all paths and driveways.
 Visually check all tree and shrub supports.
 Purchase summer seeds and flowering bulbs.
 Provide protection to plants susceptible to wind and frost.
 Keep parts of ponds ice free.
 Remove snow and ice off hedges before branches break.
 Aerate lawns to improve drainage.

In the next blog, Michael will be discussing the relationship between the Kitchen Space and the Exterior together with providing some useful advice in how to blend the two together with Interior Designer and Consultant Oliver Watts.

If any of the Articles in this Blog interest you or you would like to contact Michael to arrange an initial £100 Garden Design Consultation (2-3 hours)he can be contacted by e-mail or by mobile and text on +44 (0) 7774 183456.

Look out for In-Touch Rugby’s next Garden Design Blog in February 2013 from Michael O’Reilly!

CASESTUDY: For Kilsarans’ new Pembroke “Slate” driveway flexible pavement: laid in a new contemporary South Belfast garden/driveway setting…… with raised art deco planter walls & complimentary planting scheme see below

Client Brief and Design Influences

The basement in this property suffered from water ingress and leaked badly which required the installation of a concrete cut-off wall to the front outer house façade. As a result of the light but extensive Civil Engineering works, it was necessary for the degraded and old driveway system to be replaced.
Kilsaran provided a perfect contemporary paving solution in the form of its Pembroke Slate for Belfast-based Garden Designer Michael O’Reilly. The Designer had to contend with steep inclines, drainage issues, and a leaking basement whilst developing a garden design solution that worked for 3 family cars.
To give the property ‘Kerb Appeal’, Michael opted to brighten and modernise the property’s façade by introducing plain white rendered geometric walls, art-deco raised planter beds and strong yet minimalist planting frames. Such elements truly catch the visitor’s eye and perfectly complement the striking dappled grey contemporary driveway as demonstrated in the photograph images below.

For Design Enquiries contact Michael O’Reilly of The Garden Design Shop by email or by mobile +44 (0) 7774 183456.

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